Open Thread

You’ll be happy to know that San Francisco has created Poop Patrols to pick up all the feces flooding the streets of San Francisco. With a little luck, they’ll be able to head off any coming cholera epidemic. Reminds me of the old joke: what did Socialists use for light before candles? Electricity.

OTOH, modern Capitalism is Jeff Bezos worth $150 billion and trying to influence our national political decisions in a way which favors him. Seriously, guys, start looking into Distributism. It is the only way out of this mess.

The Louisiana AG has excluded Citibank and BofA from a $600 million finance program for roads – because they are anti-gun. Good. Time to start punishing corporations for taking sides in politics.

Our Perfect and Wonderful CIA which we May Never Question blew it’s communication security and allowed the Chinese in. I’ve been of the opinion that the CIA has been penetrated by enemy agents since Day One. I just can’t forget that the CIA vetted itself in it’s original hires and there was no assurance that those doing the vetting weren’t enemy agents.

Pearl Jam has provided a massive, in-kind donation to Trump’s 2020 re-election effort.

The MSM, in an effort to allay concerns that it is united in attacking Trump, coordinated an attack on Trump in the editorial pages of about 300 newspapers.

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Thinking About Art

So, I’m still writing the novel. Just past 57,000 words, now. I figure I’ve got about 20-25,000 left to go. Very importantly, I figured out how it ends. Meaning, I knew in general how it ended all along, but now I know how to get there. I’ve re-read what I’ve written from time to time…make a few changes here and there, but the main thing is the story is compelling. At least, to me it is. I do hope other people like it. To me, it’s a real page-turner…and I already know what’s on the next page, being the author of it, and all. There will be a lot to do in the re-write after the first draft is done…increasing the descriptions, diving a bit more deeply into character development, making the overall Narrative flow better. I’m having a lot of fun writing it. Though it will take longer than I first thought – originally hoped to have it out in May, but now that will slip by several months. Partly because I got dragooned into working on another project which will absorb some writing time over the next month or so.

The other day the news did what Chesterton pointed out is the primary purpose of the news: telling people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive that Lord Jones is dead. In this case, Lord Jones was Ursula Le Guin. I had never heard of her until I found out she was dead. In case your ignorance matches mine regarding this lady, she was a famed sci-fi/fantasy author…writing lots of books and winning all manner of awards. Someone quoted a passage from one of her books and said this was the most beautiful opening paragraph he had ever read:

Current-borne, wave-flung, tugged hugely by the whole might of the ocean, the jellyfish drifts in the tidal abyss. The light shines through it, and the dark enters it. Borne, flung, tugged from anywhere to anywhere for in the deep sea there is no compass but nearer and farther, higher and lower, the jellyfish hangs and sways; pulses move slight and quick within it, as the vast diurnal pulses beat in the moon-driven sea. Hanging, swaying, pulsing, the most vulnerable and insubstantial creature, it has for its defense the violence and power of the whole ocean, to which it has entrusted its being, its going, and its will.

If you like that, then I’m afraid my novel is going to be a terrible disappointment to you. It is just a bunch of words strung together, in my view. I initially thought the guy who posted that on Twitter was joking – and maybe he was (it is hard to tell), but the comments from people about it indicates that some people actually think this is meaningful stuff. Deep. Thoughtful.

Its about a freaking jellyfish drifting with the tide! Its drivel!

It got me thinking about the whole concept of creative arts – and thinking that it is in a very bad way. Ms. Le Guin wrote that on purpose and people read it and gave it awards. I am flabbergasted. I’d be embarrassed if I wrote anything like that. I’m hoping that she wrote it as a joke – that the rest of her writing was better and that she merely put that out once securely rich and famous as part of an “I wonder if they’ll really just buy anything I write?” experiment.

Then I read a bit from Andrew Klavan about how he was viewing the upcoming Oscar awards:

The Oscars as a glamorous, televised, fun event are a relic of the days when film was the central American art form, the way America told stories to itself. When an art form is at its peak — which usually comes pretty early in its life cycle — the greatest works and the most popular works are usually one and the same. The movies, for instance, peaked around 1939 when the nominees included Gone With The Wind, Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, and The Wizard of Oz. All are still rightly considered classics and all were in the top ten at the box office.

I’ll have to agree with that. My Mrs gently chides me for my preference for old movies, but I really find most modern movies unwatchable. There have been a few recent offerings I liked. In sci-fi, for instance, I liked Interstellar. It got panned, but I thought it the most interesting sci-fi movie since, say, Planet of the Apes in 1968. But, mostly I just keep watching old movies. They are just better, in my view. For instance, for most of my life I had ignored Citizen Kane: mostly because I figure a movie that praised couldn’t be as good as people were saying. Then I watched it all the way through. And then watched it again. It is the best movie ever made in my view. I’ve watched Lord only knows how many movies, but I’ve never seen anything as interesting as that – something so crisply done, such great dialogue, such phenomenal acting and cinematography. Klaven has hit upon something – the movies are worn out. So is fiction writing. So, too, is writing in general (Matt and I were most pleased with those who opined Worst was well-written; we really appreciated that…but, I can’t argue against the people saying it…most books written these days are simply badly written…I mean, just terrible, and they are written by people who supposedly went to school and learned how to write. I just started writing in 2003 and slowly got better at it).

It occurred to me that part of the reason I’m writing my novel is the same reason that C S Lewis wrote the Narnia series: he took one look at what people were reading, was appalled and set about trying to write something worth reading. So am I. I don’t know if anyone will read it; I hope they do. But my purpose is clear: to write a story which will be interesting and fun to read.

And I think that is where the modern arts have gone wrong: they aren’t trying for interesting and fun. They are trying for something else…a message, or a moral, or simply to be as weird as they can, because that is where the awards and book contracts are. I’m writing a fairy tale – and that means I’ve taken some average folks and put them in strange, dangerous situations where they can only rely on their courage and each other to triumph over evil. You know – it is a story which you can imagine yourself landing in, and then imagine how you might react. There is no sex in my book; though there is love. There is violence, but not gross violence. No one is depressed. They are, at turns, afraid and unsure…but they aren’t wallowing in self-pity and trying to get to some cosmic truth because they have it hard. Having it hard is just part of life, and you take it with as much grit and good humor as you can.

We need to recapture the sense of wonder and hope which art is supposed to provide us. We’ve had quite enough of weirdos and psychopaths. Maybe my book flops. Doesn’t matter. I’m writing it because it is fun to write…and I’m going to keep on writing it. I just hope that other people will join in – we’ve learned that our experts in most areas are rather dumb. The experts in the arts are no less so. If you’ve got a song in your heart, a story in your mind, a painting that is waiting to be done…do it. After all, the really great art wells up from the people…and perhaps it is time for we, the people, to take back the arts, too.

Hey, It’s January: How About Another Open Thread?

We’ll have a lot of Presidents going forward, but I don’t think we’ll ever have such a Grand Master Troll on Twitter like Trump, again:

I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock. Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!

What is most amusing is that his opponents take such jokes seriously. They light their hair on fire every time he makes a joke like this…they have intense discussions of What It All Means and how We’re Doomed Because of This Tweet. It is a glorious thing to behold. I highly recommend getting on Twitter just to watch.

William Jacobson Legal Insurrection goes over the Iranian crisis. Do read it. For me, I’ve been watching Elite Opinion cover itself in filth over the whole thing – trying to some how twist this yearning for freedom on the part of Iranians into a bad thing. They are just so desperate to preserve Obama’s legacy in the Iran Deal. I can only imagine its because they get paid – no one would be that stupid except for money.

Don Surber points out that the purveyors of Fake News just never seem to learn their lesson.

Further to that point, CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent wonders why the Secretary of the Navy would wear a sidearm in Afghanistan…I don’t know, maybe it’s because there’s a war going on, or something? Just my best guess, of course…

Deep State agent complains about Trump bringing attention to the Deep State.

That Grand Jury Mueller is using to railroad Trump people? There’s a bit of a perception of bias according to people in the know. Quite honestly, given the overwhelmingly Democrat make-up of the jury pool in the DC area, federal grand juries and trials should be held outside of the DC area…randomly select a city with a federal court for each case.

The Ghost of John Calhoun has settled in California.

A Freely Censored Press

We don’t need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press. G. K. Chesterton, 1908

So, as you can see, it has been going on a rather long time – meaning, this process whereby what is happening isn’t actually revealed in a timely manner by the press.

I was thinking about this the other day when I came across something I hadn’t thought of before – I was looking a bit into World War Two’s “Battle of the Atlantic“; the war-long conflict where the Germans were trying to strangle Britain via sinking merchant ships. I think anyone with a cursory knowledge of World War Two is aware of the phrase “loose lips sink ships”. This was a propaganda effort ostensibly to ensure that Americans on the home front didn’t discuss ships movements – lest the Germans get wind of them and thus massacre our poor merchant ships. It seemed to make sense; and it always did to me until I saw a comment which noted that this might have been more an effort to prevent the American people from discussing the fact that merchant ships were being massacred right off the coast of the United States. The Nazi submariners called this “the second happy time“. The first happy time for them was right after the Germans got control of France’s Atlantic ports, thus massively increasing the effectiveness of German U-Boats against British targets. But the second happy time was a real good time for the Germans – about 1/4 of all merchant ships sunk by U-Boats occurred during this 7 month period. It was really bad – and the response by the U.S. Navy and the American government was less than pathetic. To be sure, there were circumstances which could not be swiftly corrected (most notably the shortage of suitable Naval escort vessels for merchant convoys) but, still, it was just a terrible Naval defeat for the United States. One wonders: maybe “loose lips sinks ships” really reflected a concern that the Germans were learning of ships movements via careless talk but, then again, maybe it was just a means of suppressing news of what was happening? And, after all, it isn’t like the Germans during this time needed to get top secret information – all they had to do was lay off American harbors and wait for the targets to conveniently present themselves in succession (it really was that easy for them – hence, “happy time”…nothing a submariner likes better than easy targets). Now, just where was the vaunted free press of the United States? It was a rather sensational story, wasn’t it? Ships being destroyed in sight of America’s greatest cities. Heroic efforts to rescue people from the briny deep. Widows and orphans of the dead to be interviewed. Questions to be asked about why the Navy was so unprepared – and what steps they were taking to combat the crisis. But, from all appearances, the MSM of the day was going along with the official line.

I wrote a bit ago about the really terrible way World War Two was conducted on our side at the highest levels. Some really bone headed mistakes were made, and all through the war. To be sure, Admiral Kimmel and General Short were cashiered after Pearl Harbor, but not many officers of senior rank felt the heat (and Kimmel and Short both did have some valid extenuating circumstances – but as an old sailor, I still fault Kimmel – the Navy’s job is to be instantly ready for war; regardless of what else was going on, Kimmel should have had his ships in a state to immediately repel an attack from any quarter, 24/7). Let’s take a look at Eisenhower, for instance. In charge of Operation Torch, which was intended to get to Tunisia before the Axis powers could occupy it, he allowed his massively strong forces to be checked by a handful of Germans flown into Tunisia with nearly no heavy weapons. In charge of Overlord, he got his forces hung up in grinding, attrition warfare and when the enemy finally cracked, he failed to close the ring on them, allowing many to escape to fight another day. In charge of the drive towards Germany, he got to the gates of Germany at a time when there were, at most, the combat strength of 10 German divisions to cover hundreds of miles of front, and then paused just long enough for the Germans to scrape up troops to defend against attacks, thus extending the war by months and countless dead. After that, caught completely flat-footed by the Germans in the “Battle of the Bulge“. None of these mistakes, all of them costly in blood and treasure, resulted in a rebuke for Eisenhower – indeed, he was lauded as the great hero and got to be President of the United States for eight years. One wonders if we had in World War Two the sort of press we had during the Civil War just how long Eisenhower could have hung on in command (the Army of the Potomac had four commanders tossed out due to mistakes – but no mistakes they made were any worse than the mistakes made by Eisenhower…or a bunch of other senior commanders during World War Two). And that leads to the question: just how much censorship by the press have we been getting?

Conservatives tend to be aware of what is really going on with things like ISIS and what is at stake in Hillary’s private server – but isn’t that because we tend to read conservative media of various types? Are the full stories of these things – as well as many others – even being reported in any significant way to the average American who doesn’t consume conservative media? I doubt it highly – after all, it is just downright bizarre that more people aren’t demanding vigorous action against ISIS; they are doing very nasty things all the time, after all. Doubly bizarre that the Democrat front-runner may very well have committed a whole series of felonies and yet she remains the front-runner. It can only be explained, as far as I’m concerned, by most people being unaware of what is going on.

Do people – average, every day people who don’t seek out alternative news sources – know that Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider? Do they know that China is making a bid for Naval supremacy in the western Pacific? Do they know that Japan, India, Australia and South Korea are all building aircraft carriers of various capabilities because of the China threat, and the worry we won’t be there if a war breaks out? Do they know that Iran and Saudi Arabia are coming to military blows over Yemen? Do they know that the Egyptian government is battling Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in the Sinai? Do they know the United States has record natural gas production and our cheap energy means that with a bit of effort, manufacturing can come back to the United States? Do they know we can produce even more if the government will get out of the way? Probably not – none of these stories are any more helpful to the Ruling Class (of which the MSM is a member) than stories of tankers being blown to pieces off Long Island would have been in World War Two. And, so, they aren’t told in a way which would make people sit up and notice…which means repetitive reporting about it for several days in all the MSM outfits (it takes a while to drill a story into the public mind – an in-depth report on page A-28 of the New York Times won’t do it…it has to be on page one of the major dailies for several days while the talking heads on TV are mentioning it again and again and again…proof of this is if we polled how many Americans know who Kim Kardashian is against the number who can even identify Yemen on a map).

It is said that a free press is vital to a free society – and that is true. But what happens when the press refuses to be free? That is, when it refuses to confront people with what is really going on, preferring instead to just repeat what the bosses think the people should hear? Can a people be free when they can only choose between false alternatives presented to them by a press which is venal and in the hip pocket of those in charge?

I really don’t have a solution to this – among the freedoms the press enjoy is the freedom to sell itself entirely to one side in the political debate. If people wish to be puppets on a string, then it is their right to be such. But we do, I believe, need something of national reach which will tell the actual truth – tell what is really happening in our nation and in the world. How to get it escapes me – but I hope that someone out there with the resources will get on it.

What Media Bias? Part 193

Walter Russel Mead lays it out:

…The news from Afghanistan is grim. With the latest round of deaths, we pass a milestone: 2,000 US combatants have died in what is now the longest war in American history. The milestone has been reached just as the surge in troops has come to an end without achieving the goals of pacifying the country or even launching peace talks with the Taliban. Our Afghan “allies” remain as corrupt and ineffectual as ever, with the added wrinkle that the most dangerous place in Afghanistan for US troops these days seems to be the neighborhood of US-armed and trained Afghan forces, who are shooting and blowing up their nominal allies faster than the Taliban can do it.

This is all bad news and very disturbing, but there is a crumb of comfort to be had. Because these failures happened on President Obama’s watch, the mainstream press isn’t particularly interested in relentless, non-stop scrutiny of the unpleasant news. If George W. Bush were president now, and had ordered the surge and was responsible for the strategic decisions taken and not taken in Afghanistan over the last four years, the mainstream press would be rubbing our noses in his miserable failures and inexcusable blunders 24/7…

And every last one of you reading this – especially your liberals – knows this is true.  You can say all you want that the war started on Bush’s watch; you can say this, that and the other thing to excuse Obama – but you all know darn well that if a Republican were President right now, the stories about the collapse in Afghanistan would lead the news day after day after day.  Just think for a moment what it would be like if McCain had won in 2008 and Obama was just now taking his second shot at the Presidency.  The MSM would never let this pass, not for a second…and we’d have days of news reports marking the 2,000th American death in Afghanistan.

I really do think I have to retire the title of this post – as you can see, its been going on for a long time.  But a more correct title these days would be “What Venal and Corrupt Press?”.  Because this has gone beyond bias.  This is far more than just a willingness to soften the blows for liberals and turn up the heat on conservatives – this is a disgusting failure to do the very basics of journalism:  at least attempt to bring the truth to the people.

Continue reading

What Media Bias? Part 192

Though this might be “What Attacks on Mormonism?, Part 1”, depending on how you look at it – from Warner Todd Huston over at Breitbart:

As the race for the White House heats up, Reuters suddenly realized that the massive Mormon Church has a lot of money in its bank accounts. The news service went on to needle the Church, saying if it were a business “wealthy adherents like Mitt Romney would count as its dominant revenue stream.”

Reuters took the if-it-were-a-business theme even farther in its opening paragraphs.

“It would also likely attract corporate gadflies protesting a lack of transparency. They would call for less spending on real estate and more on charitable causes to improve membership growth — the Mormons’ return on investment.”

Of course, a religion is not a “business” proposition. A religion does not operate like a company does, it has far different goals. But assessing a religion wasn’t Reuters’ goal here. Making Mormons out to be “rich” elitists that act suspiciously and are pushing a snobbish presidential candidate on the nation was Reuters’ goal…

This from the same MSM which essentially went all “Reverend Wright, who?” in 2008.  I don’t recall any stories about how Wright’s organization was financed – and that leaves aside anything more than a glance at the fact that Obama attended a racist, anti-American church for 20 years.

One might want to think that there would be only one trip in to the gutter for our Democrats and their lapdog MSM in 2012 – forget it; they’ll troll in every gutter there is.  They will attack Romney because he’s rich.  They’ll attack him because he’s white.  They’ll attack him because he’s Mormon.  They’ll attack him as a war monger and they’ll attack him because he had college and missionary deferments during the Vietnam War.  They will lie.  They will launch whispering campaigns claiming all sorts of horrors about Romney’s past.  They will attack his wife.  They will attack his children.  They will attack his friends.  They will try to intimidate people in the right blogosphere who are favorable to Romney.  This will be the dirtiest political campaign in human history and the MSM will be right there in the trenches with the DNC, doing what they can to help Obama.

So, just get ready for it – it will get nauseating but the payoff will be the crestfallen looks on MSM faces on November 6th.

 

 

Shocking News: The MSM Didn’t Do its Job!

Just a bit flabbergasted by this from Rex Murphy at the National Post:

As the bad economic news continues to emanate from the United States — with a double-dip recession now all but certain — a reckoning is overdue. American journalism will have to look back at the period starting with Barrack Obama’s rise, his assumption of the presidency and his conduct in it to the present, and ask itself how it came to cast aside so many of its vital functions. In the main, the establishment American media abandoned its critical faculties during the Obama campaign — and it hasn’t reclaimed them since…

…The media trashed Hillary. They burned Republicans. They ransacked Sarah Palin and her family. But Obama, the cool, the detached, the oracular Obama — he strolled to the presidency…

This is, I guess, all a bit of a surprise for Murphy – but, for me, the surprise is that in 2011 anyone could still be shocked by the MSM liberal bias.  I mean, come on:  let’s review:

1.  The MSM covered up relentlessly for the Clinton’s when Bill was in office.  No real questions about the massive, illegal fundraising (it is actually illegal for Al Gore to have collected a bag of foreign cash from a Buddhist monastery).  No real attempt to investigate just why the Congressional GOP decided to impeach (honestly, it really is illegal for a President to lie under oath and suborn perjury…even if it is “just about sex”).

2.  Hillary was allowed to coast to the Senate in New York without the MSM ever asking just why a first lady of no discernible gifts or experience should be allowed to carpetbag her way in to the Senate.

3.  Al Gore was puffed up like no tomorrow in spite  of his part in illegal fund raising and his definite lack of intellectual heft, executive experience or leadership ability.

4.  John Kerry got a complete pass on how badly he lied about American soldiers in Vietnam and was allowed to present himself in the MSM as a war hero, rather than being correct portrayed as a back-stabber who threw his war comrades under the bus in order to ride anti-war, liberal sentiment in to high office.

5.  And then comes Barry – the fifth in the series.  And someone is surprised that the MSM carried his water?  Covered up for him?  Slandered his opponents?  This isn’t about a love affair with Obama; it is the MSM determination that whomever opposes a Republican will get good press.  Sure, there was probably an added zest to MSM lies and cover-ups as they were thrilled that they got to do it for a black man (convinced, as they are, that we’re all racists, this was just another way for them to stick it to us, in their minds)…but had Hillary got the nomination, they would have been just as sycophantic to her, just as slanderous against McCain (and Palin) and just as determined to re-elect her as they are, today, to re-elect Obama (stories of the MSM turning on Obama are false…one or two MSMers with a shred of honor might, but most of them will never stray from the party line).

This is what the MSM does – and I was delighted the other day to hear Rush refer to an AP reporter as the “stenographer” of the report…that is pretty much it:  whatever comes out of the DNC and the Obama campaign will be slavishly retailed to the American people.  A few oddities will creep in – the MSM does like to be able to refer to those few instances where they spoke the truth (usually on page 3 or later and always outweighed many times by the lies and cover-ups)…but the basic thrust of MSM reporting will be the burnish Obama and his Democrats and slander the Republicans.  And if the GOP wins next year, the MSM won’t learn their lesson, at all…they’ll just keep slandering the Republicans and wait for the next liberal messiah (which will be fun for us, because it will probably be governor Cuomo of New York).

It doesn’t matter how stupid a Democrat is:  the MSM will say they’re smart.  It doesn’t matter how corrupt a Democrat is:  the MSM will always say that the GOP is more corrupt.  It doesn’t matter how incompetent a Democrat is:  the MSM will just say he has an unusual leadership style.  Short of murdering someone on live television, there is nothing a Democrat can do to break MSM support…they will always find some justification for him; some excuse for failure; some slander to hit back at the GOP with.  In a real sense it has gone beyond bias and turned in to slavish devotion…that the MSMers feel any dissent from the Democrats is treason to all that is good and beautiful in the world.

And, so, don’t anyone act surprised…but, also, don’t anyone act concerned.  The people have tuned out the MSM – automatically discounting any bit of nonsense they put up and learning to read between the lines, just as citizens of totalitarian nations are required to do.  By filling in the gaps with what is not reported, but is obvious, the truth is made clear…and made doubly so by the increasing number of people relying on the New Media for the full story.